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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 53 (2011) 2, 107 - 117

Review article

Typical and atypical antipsychotics: Is there a difference in their influence on neurocognition?

G. Faber, A.R. van Gool, H.G.O.M. Smid, D. Wiersma, R.J. van den Bosch

background Neurocognitive dysfunction is a core feature of schizophrenia and is related to the functional outcome of the illness. It has been suggested that the so-called atypical antipsychotics may have a more favourable influence on neurocognition than the older, typical antipsychotics and thus also on the functional outcome.
aim To review the recent scientific literature concerning the effects of antipsychotics on neurocognition.
method The literature was reviewed systematically via the most important databases.
results Meta-analyses suggest that atypical antipsychotics have moderate, positive effects on neurocognition and in that respect are more beneficial than typical antipsychotics. Recent studies, however, challenge this finding.
conclusion The reported positive, cognitive effects of atypical antipsychotics are slight, particularly compared to the severity of neurocognitive dysfunction found in schizophrenia. In clinical practice there seem to be no convincing reason for attaching much weight to any differential effects that typical or atypical antipsychotics may have on neurocognition.

keywords antipsychotics, neurocognition, schizophrenia